Panel okays govt’s draft bill on unemployment insurance Case against Mislem delayed

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 30: The parliamentary Financial and Economic Affairs Committee has unanimously approved the government’s draft bill on unemployment insurance.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Committee Rapporteur MP Safaa Al-Hashim disclosed Director General of the Public Institution of Social Security Fahad Al-Rajaan attended the meeting, during which the panel discussed the insurance against unemployment draft bills that she and MP Khalid Al-Adwa had presented earlier.  She said the panel compared the two bills in which they found a number of similar articles, and then they decided to endorse the proposal of the government.

Al-Hashim explained the approved bill includes numerous clauses, such as the deduction of 0.5 percent monthly subscription from the salary of the insured and giving up compensation on the salary received by the jobless unless it is for settling his debts.  She said the committee agreed on granting one-time compensation to the insured if the subscription period calculated on the insurance is six consecutive months, instead of the two-year period stipulated in the two parliamentary proposals; while the payment should be within a period of not more than six months.  The insured is entitled to compensation on the eighth day of ending his service and the payment of unemployment compensation will be stopped once he refuses a job offer or if he does not participate in a training course, she added.

According to Al-Hashim, the government’s proposal is more flexible and plausible because it gives the beneficiaries two chances to participate in a training course, instead of one chance stipulated in the other proposals; but if he refuses the second time, his compensation will be cancelled. 

On the other hand, MP Ahmad Lari confirmed the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee will meet Minister of Communications Salem Al-Uthainah on Sunday to deliberate on the proposed amendments to the Kuwait Airways Corporation privatization bill that was approved by the Assembly recently.  The proposal states the employment contracts of Kuwaiti workers should be valid for not less than five years and the retirement salary is calculated based on the basic salary during their working period with the company.

In another development, MP Nabil Al-Fadhel has queried Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Thikra Al-Rasheedi on the influence of workers from Afghanistan.  He said a large number of Afghan workers have arrived in the country since 2006, claiming that “most of these workers have ties with the Taleban.”  He asked the minister to provide him with details on the actual number of Afghan workers in Kuwait from 2006 to 2012, nature of companies which hired these workers, and the work demanded.

Meanwhile, the Response to the Amiri Address Committee has completed its final report and adopted 10 major issues highlighted by HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in his speech like stronger cooperation with the legislative and executive authorities, in addition to issues pertaining to foreign policy and Bedouns.

Committee Rapporteur MP Safaa Al-Hashim has confirmed completion of the panel’s response to the Amiri address.  She also praised the speech of HH the Amir, pointing out that he tackled four major points related to the current political situation and youth issues.  She said the 10 issues adopted by the panel are as follows: democratic practice, cooperation between the two authorities, strengthening national unity, education and culture, youth issues, protection of public funds and anti-corruption, supporting and developing national economy, housing issues, health care, and illegal residents (Bedouns). 

Al-Hashim added the committee also tackled some points not included in the Amiri address, such as foreign policy and Bedouns; hence, “the response is considered a road map.”

In another development, the Criminal Court postponed until March the hearing on a State Security case against former opposition lawmaker Faisal Al-Mislem.

Al-Mislem has been charged with making remarks deemed offensive to the status of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in a television interview last year.

Meanwhile, the Public Prosecution interrogated opposition activist Abbas Al-Sha’bi and former lawmakers Salem Al-Namlan and Mubarak Al-Walaan who have been accused of breaching State Security due to their participation in unauthorized demonstrations.  They were released without posting bail immediately after the interrogation.


By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim and Nihal Sharaf Arab Times Staff

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